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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

5 1 4

Solenodon. This genus, including two species, one from Cuba,
the other from Hayti, was at one time referred to the Centetidae.
It offers, however, numerous points of difference from the
members of that family with some general points of agreement.
Possibly its isolation in the two West Indian islands mentioned is
comparable to the isolation of the Ceiitetidae in Madagascar;
they are both survivors of an ancient group of Insectivores
extinct elsewhere. JSolenodon has nearly the complete dentition.
It has lost only one premolar, and has therefore forty teeth in
all The formula is thus I •§• C -J- ^m f M f . It also differs from
the Centetidae in having only two inguinal mammae instead of
both inguinal and thoracic ; the penis of the male does not project
from a cloaca, but lies forward. On the other hand, the molars
have their cusps arranged in the V-fashion of the Centetidae, a
fact, however, which, in the opinion of some, merely points to an
ancient tritubereulism not indicative of special affinity. It has,
moreover, no zygoma in the skull, and there is no caecum.
Dr. Dobson has furthermore tabulated a number of differences in
muscular anatomy between the two families. Solenodon has a
long naked tail. The snout, always developed in Insectivores, is
extraordinarily long in this genus. It is a furry, not a spiny
animal. S, cubanus is liable to fits of rage when irritated, a
feature which it has in common with Shrews and Moles ; it is
also stated to have the ostrich -like way of concealing its head in
a crevice, " apparently thinking itself tTiea secure.". But nothing
is known of the genus in a wild state/- . ,
Fam. 6. Ohrysochlorida©*-— -This- family 'contains only the
genus Chrysochloris, comprising some. five species, all .natives of
Africa south of the equator. The scientific name of the genus, and
also the vernacular name Cape Golden M6le, are derived from the
beautiful iridescent hairs which are intermingled with softer and
non-iridescent fur. ChryswMoris has V-shaped cusped teeth like
those that are possessed by the Centetidae and Solenodontidae.
.In the skull as in the Maeroscelidae, etc., but not in the Centetidae,
there are complete zygomata. They are Moles in habit, and the
eyels are covered with skin j the ears, moreover* have no conches,
The ieeth are forty or thirty-six in number,. the reduction tieing
caused by the losing of a molar in those forms" which possess the
smaller number.1 It is interesting to notice that the adapta-
1 Tb* generic name of Chateochloris was i»i-ox>osed by Dr. Mivart for tliese.